Sten­son will be cen­tre of at­ten­tion

The Swede has amassed most points from Euro­pean Tour tour­na­ments in the Race to Dubai

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

All eyes will be on Hen­rik Sten­son to stamp his au­thor­ity on the DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship in Dubai when it tees off at Jumeirah Golf Es­tates (Earth Course) in the United Arab Emi­rates on Thurs­day. The Swede has had re­mark­able form on the fair­ways this year and has made a huge im­pres­sion.

Sten­son is lead­ing the Race to Dubai, hav­ing amassed most points from Euro­pean Tour tour­na­ments this year (see box).

Be­hind him is English­man Danny Wil­lett, who has par­tic­i­pated in 23 con­tests. Tak­ing the third berth is North­ern Ire­land’s for­mer world num­ber one, Rory McIl­roy.

The cham­pi­onship car­ries a prize purse of $8 mil­lion (R114 mil­lion) and is the cli­max of the Euro­pean Tour Race to Dubai.

It is the fi­nal se­ries of the cir­cuit that has fea­tured two other big events on the tour: the Turk­ish Air­lines Open played at Reg­num Carya Golf & Spa Re­sort in An­talya last Sun­day and the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge, which is be­ing con­tested at Gary Player Coun­try Club at Sun City.

The Turk­ish event was won by Den­mark’s Thor­b­jørn Ole­sen, who carded un­der-par 20 for a to­tal of 264. Sten­son is vy­ing for his sec­ond chance to lay his hands on the Harry Var­don Tro­phy fol­low­ing his win in 2013.

He is hell-bent on un­seat­ing McIl­roy, who took the hon­ours on three oc­ca­sions – in 2012, 2014 and last year.

The charis­matic Sten­son, whose play is char­ac­terised by long drives that eas­ily find the fair­ways, will be tak­ing to the east course on Thurs­day with a view to win­ning the event for the third time since it started in 2009.

He cap­tured the 2013 and 2014 edi­tions by six and four strokes, re­spec­tively.

With McIl­roy win­ning last year when he took the hon­ours by a sin­gle stroke, com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the two play­ers will be stiff at the last show­down of the sea­son. But Sten­son will have to prove his met­tle by tak­ing the con­test and win­ning the Race to Dubai.

With a breath­tak­ing sea­son that saw him snatch the BMW In­ter­na­tional Open in Ger­many in June and the Bri­tish Open at Royal Troon in Scot­land in July, noth­ing should de­ter Sten­son from his im­pres­sive streak this year.

VIG­I­LANT Hen­rik Sten­son of Swe­den is de­ter­mined to end the year on a high by win­ning the Race to Dubai se­ries

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